The first champion to give a press conference at the race headquarters was Alberto Contador. The leader of the Tinkoff-Saxo team didn’t hide that he’s got a great shape and high ambitions for the sixth Tour de France he’ll take part in. “My condition reminds me the feelings I had at the start of the 2009 Tour de France and I rode incredibly well that summer”, said the Spaniard. “I don’t know if my form will allow me to beat Chris Froome who has won last year’s race with a big margin and he’s logically the hot favorite this time around.”
Peter Sagan presented his new Cannondale bike painted in reference to The Wolverine, suggesting that he’ll be a superhero of the Tour de France in his third participation. “I think everyone knows that my goal is to get another green jersey in Paris”, the Slovakian national champion said. “It’s always better to get more. If I can win some stages, it’ll be good for me and for the Cannondale team but the green jersey is enough for me to be satisfied if I manage to win it again. I’m looking forward to racing the Tour once again. I may not have the train that Omega Pharma-Quick Step has brought here but I do have Fabio Sabatini to position me and Elia Viviani to lead me out. I don’t know who I should fear the most for the green jersey. For now, all the Tour de France contenders are my competitors and I don’t look further than stage 1.”
Sagan and Vincenzo Nibali have something in common: they won their respective national championship on Sunday. But they’ll both wear a distinctive jersey that showcases their trade team’s colors rather than their country’s flag. Controversy arose in the Italian community when “The Shark of the Strait” showed up at the opening ceremony in the Leeds Arena on Thursday as the red, white and green flag looked very small in the middle of the Turquoise outfit. “I personally would have preferred to wear the jersey I got on the podium of the Italian championship”, Nibali commented. “But this is the kind of decision that belongs to more important people than me. The jersey has been approved by the Italian cycling federation and Astana needs exposure for the sponsors. There were only three days left for making it. I don’t know if I’ll get a different one soon.”
Nibali eyes the yellow jersey later in the Tour de France but the first one will very likely be presented to a sprinter by the Duchess of Cambridge in Harrogate.